October 21, 2008

What is the News, These Days?

What is the News, These Days?

I’ve about had it with the news about the financial mess these days. It’s not the news about what’s happening that bugs me — that’s at least mildly useful. It’s the pundits’ explanation of what’s driving the news that’s driving me nuts.

It’s hard to see how these headlines and lead sentences are even remotely accurate. It’s not as if all global traders and investors operate on a common set of guidelines, or even have access to all the same information at the same time. Yet we are now told day in, day out, that the market is doing well “because the government finally approved the bailout.” Or the market is doing poorly “because investors are worried the bailout isn’t enough” (yes, same reason).

And this is a gem from Friday: “Oil prices jumped above $72 a barrel Friday in Asia from a 14-month low as investors bet fears that a severe global recession will devastate crude demand may be overblown.” So this headline, to be clear if you study it, is saying that yesterday’s fears which drove the market down — we’re now afraid we were wrong. Yeesh.

One response to “What is the News, These Days?”

  1. Spot on!

    Have you read "Fooled by Randomness" and "The Black Swan", both by Nassim Nicholas Taleb? He pokes fun at journalists who are always able to attribute, even RANDOM, statistically insignificant, matket movements to something or another.